Hungary earmarks a billion forints for Herzog case

Budapest, November 20 (MTI) – The government’s 2011 budget draft earmarks 1.02 billion forints (3.7 million euros) for legal fees and restitution related to a lawsuit filed by the heirs of the Hungarian art collector Mor Lipot Herzog, a supplement to the draft show.

The supplement also shows a foreign attorney’s office will be picked in a public procurement procedure to represent Hungary in the case.

    The heirs of Herzog, who perished in the Holocaust, filed the lawsuit against the State of Hungary in Washington aiming to recover artifacts confiscated in 1944 and now kept in Hungarian museums, the New York Times reported in July. The heirs have laid claim to 40 pieces of art worth over 100 million dollars. They are also demanding that the Hungarian government compile a list of all other items in state-run museums that were stolen from the famous private collection during WWII.

    In January 2008, an appellate court in Budapest ruled against an appeal for the return of 12 paintings including works by El Greco, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Courbet, on grounds that the Herzog family had already received financial compensation for the paintings.  

    The Herzog collection was seized after Hungary’s Nazi occupation in 1944.

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